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Episode Info:

In today’s global business environment, there is a crucial need to reframe the way we think about diversity and inclusion. Eric Severson, Chief People Officer at DaVita, returns to the podcast for an impactful discussion on the concept of belonging, and why it matters so much in business today. Through his roles at DaVita, Gap Inc., and Macy’s, Eric has been a key leader throughout his career in developing innovative strategies and communities that foster belonging. Eric discusses why belonging is critical for an engaged culture, the challenge most diversity programs face, and ways to shift our mindset into connecting at an even deeper human level.


Key Takeaways:

[5:07] The concept of diversity and inclusion began in the United States during the landmark legislation that arose during the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Employers shifted their focus to being compliant with the movement in inclusion to avoid charges of discrimination and lawsuits.

[7:58] Belonging is such a universal need and desire that it is mentioned in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

[10:08] The beauty of developing a culture of belonging in both our professional and personal lives is that we are able to connect on the human level. This erases the emphasis on distinction and the “us vs. them” mindset and instead, highlights our common similarities.

[13:34] An engaged workforce and customer population is one that not only welcomes people from all backgrounds but one that also is aware of ways they don’t. This is only when they can actively make strides in customizing the system to accommodate all.

[23:08] A culture of belonging also encourages us not to judge our implicit cognitive bias but to understand it and really take in how it affects our decision making.

[24:08] There is fear among some that their opportunities will be taken away in diversity programs. This can be alleviated by showing programs that create more opportunity for all and an environment with equal expectations of high performance.

[31:27] In this ever-growing world of global communications and connection, success is found in asking the right questions that lead to finding common ground.

[42:37] Airbnb is a great example in the movement of belonging and feeling welcomed no matter where you find yourself throughout the world.

[44:39] At DaVita Village, leaders encourage everyone to identify a time in their life that they did not belong. This leads us to get in touch with the core emotions and attitudes of what it feels like to be on the outside.



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Performance for Life with Eric Severson

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